Breaking Political News History I often watch both BBC News and Sky News on two screens, so I don’t miss anything. This week, like many others, I’ve added a third channel: A Salad Live.
After Prime Minister Liz Truss’s hard-line policies plunged the economy and her political party into chaos, the Economist published a scathing column about her time in office so far, saying it “has the shelf life of a lettuce”.
So, the British tabloid Daily Star then decided to put this theory into practice. They bought a salad, attached googly eyes, placed it next to the Prime Minister’s photo and published a live stream. “Can Liz Truss be bigger than this salad?” the publication asked readers.
As you can imagine, it was a joke that lit up Twitter. But Roman felt like something that wouldn’t last long in the public consciousness (sorry).You see, even though Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng had been out of office in dramatic fashion (he was the fourth chancellor in four months), Truss’ exit, at the time, didn’t exactly feel inevitable.
However, that also turned out to be the tip of the iceberg (I Really sorry). On Monday, Suella Braverman unexpectedly resigned as home secretary, only weeks after taking on the role, further exposing Truce. What started as a joke became a strange new reality: That Liz Truss could be beaten by a salad.
On a live broadcast, the salad was given an arm and a leg. A memorable reference to Truss’s 2014 speech sits next to a block of cheese, in which Truss said it was a shame Britain imported two-thirds of its cheese. Now, minutes after Braverman’s surprise resignation, the Daily Star has replaced the cheese plate from the scene of the shooting. TofuShe nods at Braverman, whom she once called a “Guardian-reading, tofu-eating Walkerati.”
On Wednesday night, the New York Times wrote a profile of Salad. It was at this point that I began to wonder what the rest of the world must think of the state of British common sense. “So far the lettuce hasn’t dried in the light in six days,” lamented the Gray Lady. “Lettuce can generally stay crisp for seven to 10 days – although that’s typically the life of a salad in the fridge, not a head in a wig sitting on a table.”
As the House of Commons descended into a confusing and often hostile vote on Wednesday evening, the live stream responded by having someone speak for the garden. I tuned in to see the lecture, which consisted mostly of Rick Astlin’s poetry. It ends with the words, “Lettuce wins.” Later, someone poured a glass of prosecco over the salad.
On Thursday morning, rumors swirled around Westminster that Truss was about to stand down. After an afternoon briefing proved as much, the salad was surrounded by disco lights and the music of Kool & The Gang’s “Holiday of Glory.” It was accompanied by a selection of root vegetables, all eye-catching.
While Salad Live was the real experience of the day, it wasn’t that far off from what was seen on television. For one thing, journalists had to decide how to report their sources’ outrage at the ongoing mess. On ITV News, anchor Tom Bradby opened the evening’s announcement by referring to the deputy chief’s Conservative whip’s fury from the House of Commons, although it was toned down a bit. “I’m very angry and I’m not going to give in any more,” he said. Taken slightly out of context, with the intro news music, it sounded like a British-sans Howard Beale rant from “Network.”
However, some of the highlights still aired on television all the way through. A common aggravating factor in recent years is the pronunciation of current Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. ITV’s political editor Robert Peston was the latest victim of a faux pas on Wednesday night, deciding to put the words “Jeremy Hunt’s cut” on his autograph. You can guess what comes next.
Of course, some reported profanity that had never been televised. Channel 4 News Anchor Krishnan conducted a heated interview between Guru-Murthy and Steve Baker MP. During a commercial break, Guru-Murthy was heard calling Baker “ridiculous” and the exchange was reported by the Independent newspaper. “Even if it wasn’t broadcast, the word in any context falls below my own standards and I apologize.” The journalist tweeted.. Then he was suspended for a week.
Stupidity would be more fun if the context weren’t so depressing. UK inflation hit a 40-year high this week, with food prices rising by 14.6 per cent. Many families are concerned about rising costs, from food to energy. The Trussell Trust, a charity that distributes food to needy families, says demand is beginning to outstrip supply.
And last night, news anchor Huw Edwards asked political editor Chris Mason on News at Ten: “You’re looking at the problems facing the country and the problems many people are facing with the cost of living. All the things that you look at for the government to make a decision about… is this government working in any meaningful way?” Edwards asked.
“No,” replied Mason.